Adult film actress Stormy Daniels has offered to return the $US130,000 ($165,000) payment she received from President Donald Trump’s lawyer last year to dissolve her “hush agreement”.
The President’s attorney, Michael Cohen, said last month he paid Ms Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, $US130,000 of his own money ahead of the 2016 election in exchange for her silence over an alleged relationship with Mr Trump starting in 2006.
However, Ms Clifford’s lawyer Michael Avenatti said his client would wire the money into an account of Mr Trump’s choosing by Friday, making the settlement agreement “null and void in their entirety”.
The Trump team has until Tuesday local time to decide if it will agree to the terms.
If it accepts, Ms Clifford could “speak openly and freely about her prior relationship with the President and the attempts to silence her, and use and publish text messages, photos and videos relating to the President that she may have in her possession, all without fear of retribution or legal liability,” Mr Avenatti said in a letter to Mr Trump’s legal team.
It also means the Trump administration would not be able to block the broadcast of an interview that Ms Clifford taped with CBS’ 60 Minutes last week. The interview is set to air on March 18 (US time).
If the President’s attorneys reject the offer, it could be seen as acknowledging the existence of the nondisclosure agreement and that it directly involves Mr Trump.
Neither Mr Trump nor the White House has admitted the President was involved in any way with Ms Clifford.
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee-Sanders was quoted by CNN last week as saying that “arbitration was won in the President’s favour” regarding the case.
The original deal that Ms Clifford signed required all parties to take any disputes into a private arbitration process, with Mr Cohen winning a temporary restraining order against Ms Clifford.
But last week, Mr Avenatti filed a lawsuit against Mr Trump, claiming the initial agreement was invalid because the president did not personally sign the contract.
He made a new offer that requires the signatures of “all parties”, including that of the president.